I am a lover of Hip Hop, R'n'B, Rock and film music. I am a musician/music journalist and I have been hugely influened by those types of musical styles. I've five years experience singing live and I've also been composing my... [more]
I am a lover of Hip Hop, R'n'B, Rock and film music. I am a musician/music journalist and I have been hugely influened by those types of musical styles. I've five years experience singing live and I've also been composing my own stuff too. I play piano but I'm not nearly as good as I want to be!
I live in Dublin, Ireland and I also love film and theatre. I have a degree in Multimedia from Dublin City University. I am working towards having a successful career working with music in any shape or form. Sin é! That's me! :) [show less]
I could spend hours looking at photos of red carpet gowns and this years Oscars were no different. For me, the best dressed was Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto. She wore a gorgeous blue John Galliano gown. I also loved Penelope Cruz in her Balmain couture chiffon dress and Anne Hathaway looked stunning in Armani.
There was another stunner out on the red carpet that night, Heidi Klum. Now this girl would look beautiful in a black sack and what she wore that night proves this point. Klum wore a red gown by Roland Mouret which you can see in the picture. Although she does look gorgeous, I think this dress does nothing for her. I don't like it in the slightest but I'm beginning to think there is something wrong with me because in all the magazines, everyone is saying that the dress is fabulous! I'm sorry but I really don't see it. Is this a case of the Emporer's new clothes maybe?
Check out the best photos from Oscar night 2009 on http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrities/redcarpet/oscars-2009-red-carpet-fashion.
The following is a blog I came across on http://www.kimkinrade.com/blog/1372/vocal-harmonizers/ by Kim Kinrade. It talks about one pet hate of mine, vocal harmonizers. Grrrrr.
“Auto-Tuned music is like fake boobs: once you realize they are fake, it kind of diminishes the joy of seeing them.”
—Randall Roberts, music editor at LA Weekly
There is a singing aid that has been in use for some time call the vocal harmonizer. the first time I heard someone use it I though there was a a duo on stage but it was just one guy. The way it works is that he has another vocal signal running parallel to the main one. This second signal is then set for thirds or whatever interval that the harmony would sound good. With a foot switch the harmonies can just come in on the chorus.
It the music studios these are used for lazy singers.In years gone by we would do a vocal track over and over again until we thought that parts of it weren’t sharp or flat. Another way would be to do it line-by-line (awfully tedious!), punching in and out.
“You hear this device all the time on the radio. Whenever you hear ultra tight vocal harmonies that sound ‘too perfect’ you are listening to a harmonizer at work. “
Rather than spend a half a day getting a vocal track right a vocal harmonizer can pull a voice right on the note. This way valuable recording time is not spent on redos. Or is it?
“We’ve gotten to the point where the producer is the artist, and the performer is just a tool in the broader spectrum of the record.”
- Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot
In the late 1970’s studio time in Vancouver was around $150 an hour. My first record took me a year to pay off and I spent about $450 (3 hours) just getting one vocal track right. Why? Because my voice is still a work in progress as I never learned how to sing properly. Would a harmonizer have helped? Yes. Would I have used something like that at the time. Probably.
However, I can listen back to a few tracks that I still think were great. And this is because it took a lot of work and creativity. With a harmonizer the machine would have me sound good and that would be like getting someone to sing the track for me.
However, harmonizers are here to stay. But it’s the producer who decides who needs it or will lavish it on vocals as a fail-safe mechanism.
Gym Class Heroes
Guilty As Charged
New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
Play the video above and close your eyes. I think that this song is one of the best of all time, I love it! But then I saw the video. Play the video, this time with your eyes open. I think the video really brings the song down! What was brilliant is now just mediocre. I hate to say it, but I take the more pessimistic view that lately, the majority of music videos are rubbish. Most music videos out now are too involved with establishing an artists’ image when the primary concern should be to enhance and compliment the song.
You are more likely to hear a song before you see the music video. So if you hear a song and think it’s brilliant, it is going to be so hard for the video to meet the high expectations of what you have already envisioned. This maybe a reason why music videos don't seem as good as the songs alone, but it’s still no excuse.
One of my favourite songs of all time is Gym Class Heroes feat. Estelle – “Guilty As Charged”. When I heard this song I was blown away. It conjured up so many images for me that I feel like I would have loved to create the music video for this song! Then when I saw the video, I felt very let down. I think the video really belittles the song and makes it come across as one big joke! For me this video kills the song.
Another example like this is Leona Lewis’s version of Snow Patrol’s song“Run”. I love her version but I got so frustrated when I saw the video for the song. Basically it just depicts Leona Lewis prancing around in the woods in period dress. Although the video is very beautiful but I feel that it does nothing to compliment the song. It doesn’t convey the depth and sincerity of the music, which is what really disappointed me.
Now all is not lost, there are a couple of very good music videos, which do enhance the song. Sarah Leonetti mentions LCD Soundsystem – “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” in her blog (http://www.artandculture.com/feature/385)
I have never been to it but I think the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is probably the coolest institution ever. I have so much respect for every single artist/band inducted onto that famous list. It is not only the coolest, but it is the most prestigious list for any musician to get onto. To say you have been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is huge! People use this title as a prefix to someone or something great. For example, fellow artandculture member Valerie Gladstone referred to the legend Booker T as “Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones” (http://www.artandculture.com/feature/570) and why not?? Booker T is a legend and deserves such a prestigious title… but would you really call him a Rock ‘n’ Roller? Now I am a huge fan of Booker T. The man’s a genius, but I’d call him a soul genius. I wouldn’t really associate him with Rock ‘n’ Roll so much. Should he be on that list? Am I taking a mere title just bit too literally?
I decided to take a look at the list of Rock ‘n’ Roll inductees to see if there were any other questionable artists on the list. Without a doubt, there are some Rock ‘n’ Roll greats on that list all right. You have Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis… then I went further up the list and the names appeared to veer away from Rock ‘n’ Roll and settle into the more opaque realms of Rock. Well that’s fair enough. I suppose that Rock legends have as much a right to be up there even if they don’t have the added “’n’roll” to their music. I saw names like REM and Bob Dylan…Rock legends, no doubt about it. Then, however, I began to get a little bit confused. Now, I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson, The Supremes and Madonna but I would never associate them with Rock ‘n’ Roll. Is it just me that thinks that it’s wrong for them to be on the list? Why can’t they be on the Pop Hall of Fame or the Motown Hall of Fame? Do such things exist? Maybe I’m being too harsh. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d greatly appreciate it!
Last year I interviewed Travis McCoy who is the lead singer of the amazing hip hop band Gym Class Heroes. Travis is the lead vocalist with the band. They have had huge hits with "Cupid’s Chokehold", "Clothes Off" and "Cookie Jar". Travis also features on the Kelly Rowland hit, "Daylight". So he has done pretty well for himself!
Gym Class Heroes played the Academy in Dublin on September 15th last year and I got a few minutes with Travis backstage before the gig. We had a great chat! He was telling me all about making their current album “The Quilt”, he talked about Estelle, Pink Floyd, Daryl Hall, the Arctic Monkeys and I was very privileged to be let in on a little secret about the next single! Plus, find out why Travis would never go near sampling again after releasing Cupid’s Chokehold which uses samples from Supertramp’s "Breakfast in America". To listen just click on the audio sample to the attached to this blog...